Saturday, March 30, 2013

Thank you

Image credit

Well, this is a little embarrassing.

I was very surprised to receive an email the other night notifying me, that one of YOU, my lovely readers, nominated me for the Best Australian Blogs 2013 Competition. This is an initiative of the Australian Writers' Centre.

The People’s Choice Award is now open. Which means YOU can now vote in the competition until 5pm on Tuesday 30 April 2013. While the entrants to the competition needed to be Australian, voting is open internationally.

So, if you feeling that way inclined, click on the button below and select Life on the Hill.

Thank you to whoever nominated me. You made me feel very special.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Affirmation art doodles

Playing along with Trish for wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, March 19, 2013


There are some dates that are branded into my brain. Seared into the soft tissue, a deep, dark ugly scar.
21 March is one. 18 October 2013 is another.

The first is the man that is my fathers birthday. The second - the day he is eligible for parole. It marks 9 years that he has been in prison. 9 years from when 12 complete strangers believed me and sentenced him to 12 years imprisonment for the abuse he committed against me.

How did that nine years go so fast? Why is the monster still even alive?

Today I finally contacted the victims registrar to change my address details. Something I've been meaning to do for the last six months. Something my mother has reminded me to do numerous times. Something that I kept putting off.

I called the registrar, as grown up Vicky. The woman I spoke to explained the process, but after her telling me the date of his parole hearing, 16 August, 2013, my body went into flight response. When I hung up, little Vicky had arrived. She was biting her nails, holding her breathe, trembling.

I walked out to the lounge room, M looked at me and before I could say anything, asked me what was wrong. Through my tears, I asked him for a cuddle. He came and held me and asked again. I explained what I had just done. He kissed the top of my head, "Let's go an lay down and have a cuddle," he responded.

I curled my body into his embrace and cried. "How has it been 9 years? How is he still alive? He was supposed to die ... I want him to die..."

As I lay there in the safety of his arms, I wrapped my own around that small child within. She is not alone. I am not alone.

Naomi over at Seven Cherubs talks about being a victim, a Survivor, a thriver. Most of the time, I'm thriving. Sometimes, like today, I feel like I am only just surviving. There is a lump in my throat. One that hasn't been there for a very long time.

Fasten your seatbelts ladies and gents. We may hit some turbulence.


Saturday, March 16, 2013

Looking for fairies and unicorns, when all I can find are ogres and trolls

It's strange the things that trigger me. I'm still surprised when it happens. The come back from where the nightmares live is quicker, but the residual feeling of general irritability remains.

Aston handed me this morning a worksheet that requested information on significant events that have occurred in his life, starting from age 1 through to 5. My initial reaction was to freeze, and dive into refusal to participate. A 100 images and memories played through my head in microseconds, none of them appropriate to put down on my 6 year olds time line. My internal dialogue was screaming I don't want to fill out this fucking worksheet!... Fuck you R for being such a c..... %#&$*!!!!

I had to physically look through photos to coax memories other then trolls and ogres. My breathing stuck in my throat, as I searched for fairy and unicorn moments. I found them, eventually, as the kaleidoscope of shattered images filtered through my mind rapidly.

I'm irritable now. Annoyed that I feel like this. Annoyed that there were ogres and trolls at all. Why can't it all be fairies and unicorns?

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Doing the chicken dance while hat juggling

(Product Review - this is not a sponsored post. I was gifted a $50 voucher. Opinions are my own. Authentic and with integrity.)

When I had children I made the decision that regardless of their sex, they would be self sufficient when they left home. And that means being able to cook something other then toast! Laura can cook independently, but doesn't particularly get enjoyment out of it. Nathan needs a little supervision and guidance with some dishes. He is building up quite a repatiore of recipes now, and enjoys cooking. My returning to work has provided the perfect opportunity for my two teens to each cook once a week.

It was with this in mind that I accepted the invitation to a recent blog function with Lenards. To have a look at some products that would be easy, and delicious, for my two teens to prepare for dinner. The opportunity to meet up with some other Brisbane bloggers was also very appealing. I wasn't disappointed on either front!

It was wonderful to connect with some gorgeous Queensland bloggers, and be treated to a yummy lunch prepared by the Lenards team. I had a great day, and left with a full tummy, and lots of ideas for Laura and Nathan for future dinner preparations.

I was gifted a $50 voucher from Lenards. All the dishes I got have been delicious, easy to prepare and most importantly, enjoyed by everyone in the family. I've been back for more, and have filled up my freezer with some recent specials. Our favourites at the moment are the chicken jumbos - perfect replacement for a meat pattie in a hamburger. If you haven't already, check Lenards out. If your time short (something that I'm finding myself suffering from a lot of lately!) but want healthy, nutrious meals they are certainly worth it.
Have you had Lenards chicken? Got any quick and easy meal ideas for teens to cook? You can't have chicken every night can you.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

23. Art workshop with a new medium

Ticking another thing of my bucket list. I have started watercolour classes, a medium I have wanted to learn for ages. In a beautiful piece of serendipity a man came into the shop I'm working at looking for something. We got talking and he informed me that he teaches water colour classes, that are just up the road from me, on a Monday, and at a price that can't be beaten!

It's lovely to be using a new medium, and learning a whole lot of fundamentals in the process as well. While I have no desire to be a watercolour landscapist, learning how to manipulate this medium is great. So I will do the exercises for the process, and take what I want, and leave the rest behind. Bit like most things I do in life.

values, washes, techniques and playing

Monday, March 4, 2013

Hat Juggling

Image Credit

This is what the week before I started working, and the week of, looked like.

Week before:

Nathan gets cranky because he will not be able to play soccer, as I work on Saturdays and will need him to look after Aston on that day. The fact that he is getting paid to do this doesn't seem to matter. A whole lot of "it's not fair" "this sucks" "I hate my life" are heard. Loudly.

The washing machine breaks down, my to my delight. On informing Laura, her response is, "Well it had better be fixed by Wednesday! I need my uniform for work on Thursday!!" (Obviously I have conspired to make life as difficult as possible for her, because, you know, she will be the only one affected by not having a working washing machine!)

The night before I start work, Aston bursts into tears at the dinner table and declares "I don't want you to go to work!"

Needless to say, I am starting my new job with a healthy  unhealthy dose of mother guilt. This is going to be interesting.

Day 1:
AM - Nathan has a tantrum because I won't let him take his iPod to school. "Its MY iPod! Why can't I take it to school?!?" Hmmm... Let's see. BECAUSE THE LAST ONE WAS STOLEN!

Laura, who is at a school leadership camp calls me, up in arms at the travesty of having to hand her mobile phone in. The fact that it clearly said on the note that mobile phones weren't to be used, as the purpose of the camp was for the school leaders to build rapport with each other seems to invade her. While I did want to be able to contact her, as no contact number had been supplied, I could understand the reasoning behind this. Having this discussion with her, after already dealing with the gangster teen, while trying to get ready for work, was not on my to do list for the day!!

PM - I get home from work, somewhat exhausted. My brain about to explode from information overload, and my body about to collapse from being vertical all day. Nathan arrives home from Karate training, indignant that he "had to ride MYSELF to karate!!" Laura calls from camp, on her teacher's mobile, completely self absorbed. "I'm so tired." She has completely forgotten that I have started work until I remind her. At dinner Aston asks me, "When are you not going to be working anymore?"

Day 2:
AM - Aston wakes at 5am, in the throes of an asthma attack. In between gasps of breath, he hysterically announces "I don't want to die!!" Such comforting words for me to hear.... I manage to calm him down enough to be able to take Ventolin. I sit with him, laying against me upright, watching cartoons, and him telling me "I don't want you to go to work". I wait to see which way this is going to go, Ventolin work, and him settle, or off to the hospital.  In my head, I'm thinking, Great start to my new job, second day I have to ring up and say I can't come in...

Thankfully, the Ventolin does its thing, and he settles. But, my anxiety is still high, and I don't feel comfortable with him going to school. The inner dialogue is rampant. My mother is still on holidays with us, and tells me, "its OK Vicky. I'm here. Go to work." Reluctantly, I get ready, and go.

PM - Laura returns from camp to the school at 5.30. I have arranged for her boyfriend's mother to pick her up, as I don't finish work until 5.30, and her school is a 20 minute drive away. When I pick her up, I'm on automatic. The lights are on, but no-ones home. She gets in the car, and promptly has a melt down of .8 on the Richter scale of melt downs. Physical and mental exhaustion after spending three days participating in an ANZAC style Leadership Boot camp will do that to you. I suck up my own exhaustion, arrive back in my body, and become present for my daughter. We take a walk around the lake, giving her the opportunity to de-brief.

Thankfully, when I get home, Nathan has cooked dinner, and does an excellent job! I fall into bed, non compos mentis.

Day 3:
AM - Aston is still not 100%. Laura is exhausted from the camp, and M decides he is going to have a sick day, and Mum decides that as Laura and M are going to be home, she is going out for the day. All these things through my new morning routine out the window. I some how manage to get to work in time, anxious, but able to leave it behind. I finish at 2pm today, come home, and fall into bed for an hour, and sleep like the dead.

PM - As I'm putting Aston to bed at 7.30pm, all I want to do is put myself to bed as well. Laura is working tonight and doesn't finish until 10pm. I inwardly curse, and declare that she had better get her bloody Ps soon! Aston discovers he has a very wiggly tooth. His first! He is very excited, then gets worried about swallowing it, because then how will the tooth fairy find it? I assure him that it will be OK, it will travel out his body, and come out when he goes to the toilet. He responds "but then her wings will get wet!" God I love that kid.

Day 4:
AM - I'm not starting work until 1pm today, but its Laura's Leadership induction at school this morning. It's also Aston's first time at after school care. I calculate that I won't have time to drop Aston off at school, take Laura to school, stay for induction, come home, get changed and go to work. Make a plan to get ready for work, get Laura to take Aston into school, while I wait in the drop off zone, then drive to Laura's school for the induction. Aston protests loudly this morning, with lots of "I'm not going!!" and "Why do you have to work?"

PM - I ring after school care to make sure he has arrived safely and settled in. When I pick him up, he has lot to tell me, and has a good time. I breathe a sigh of relief, drive home, pack his bag, and hop back into the car to make the 40 minute journey to drop off as he is going to his father's for the weekend.

Day 5:
AM- I volunteered to work Saturdays as M usually works on Saturdays for at least half the day. Today, he isn't working, and he has forgotten that I am. Seeing as how we don't get much time alone together these days, he is disappointed that I'm going to work, and even more disappointed when he finds out I'm not finishing until 5.30!

PM - By the time I get home I'm shattered. M is making dinner, but I need to sleep. I lay down for an hour and half, and fall deeply asleep.

Waking up on Sunday and not having to go anywhere or do anything was blissful. I have survived the week. Just.

My respect for working mothers everywhere is raised higher then ever, and I text several friends asking them how the hell they have been doing this all these years?!

Even though I am tired beyond belief, I am loving being back at work. I get to talk to people all day, who are looking for things to make art and craft or solutions, and ideas for creating. My unique skill set, and the recognition that I have a unique skill set, has been invaluable. It seems I know far more then I realised. My experiences working in admin, being a full time mother, studying education, being creative have given me a wealth of information that I hadn't previously given the recognition and value that it deserved.

Its not all beer and skittles. The adjustment for the kids that I'm not going to be there at the their beck and call has been interesting, and challenging. Time management is paramount. As is sharing the load, and asking for help. Four weeks in we are all starting to adjust, and make changes.

Are you a working mum? Any suggestions/ideas/advice on the juggle would be greatly appreciated.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

I added another "hat" to my wardrobe.

When I fell pregnant with my first child in 1995, I was the Supervisor of Operations, Financial Services, St. George Bank. I even had a business card, and an office. My first. I loved my job. I had started at St. George when I was 20, as a teller, and then moved to head office, working as a administration clerk in first the Visa department, then the Financial Services Department. I quickly worked through the ranks - first 2-i-c, then Supervisor.

Falling pregnant wasn't in "the plan". I was on the "career path", not the motherhood path. OK, yes I know, its possible to have both. But this is my story. OK?

When I gave birth to Laura, all thoughts about career very literally fell out of my head, as I fell in love with this amazing gift I had been given. So when I was promoted to Manager of the department while I was on maternity leave, with a healthy pay rise, I was surprised, and thankful, but my internal dialogue was going "thank you very much, I'm incredibly honoured that you think I'm capable, but yeah - that career path I was on... well, its not the path I want anymore".

But me, being me, knew that I needed to experience first hand if that was really the case, and even though my gut was screaming "Abort Will Robertson", I cut my maternity leave short to 4 months, left Laura home with her father (who was still trying to figure out what he wanted to do when he grew up, so he left work to look after her) and returned to the "career path". For 8 weeks, in between meetings - oh the fucking endless meetings, staff training sessions, and my own management training workshops, I sat in the women's toilets and pumped two 240 ml feeds into bottles while holding a picture of my baby girl. I still have the milk spattered photo.

For 7 months, I came home each night, exhausted beyond belief, and cried, while her father made empty promises of bringing her into work more often. A month before Laura turned one, I handed in my resignation, with a months notice, came home and told him that he had to find a job.

On Laura's first birthday I began my journey as a full time stay at home mum. That's the job I did for the next 8 years. When Laura was 8, and Nathan 5, I worked part-time for an artist and his wife at their gallery as their PA for two years. The beauty of this job was not only was I surrounded by beautiful pieces of art, it was always during school hours. This meant that Laura and Nathan were never affected by me being at work. They were at school, and where unaffected by what I was doing, well, lets be honest, as far as they were concerned, out of sight, out of mind!

Europe, and all it had to offer, beckoned my employers, which meant unfortunately for me, I was out of a job. Fast forward 8 years and another child to February this year.

Since moving to Brisbane from the Sunshine Coast, I have been looking for work. I naively thought it wouldn't be a problem. While it has made life a little difficult not having work, it was good in the respect that it allowed me to be available for my kids as we all settled into living in suburbia.

In November last year I happened to be in an Art and Craft supply shop (my candy shop!), and overheard that they were looking for employees. I dropped my resume in, and ... well heard nothing. The manager I had given it to had apparently left the next day. I was somewhat disheartened, and more then a little disillusioned. I was already spiralling into the hole, this was just another thing to push me down there.

After Christmas I popped into my candy shop to pick up some paper, and decided to go out on a limb and ask what had happened to my resume. Serendipity stepped in. It turned out the the lovely lady I was talking to, was the new manager. Two weeks later, she rang me and asked if I was still interested in a job. Abso-friggin-lutely!!!

The floor at where I work. Pretty cool hey?

I've added another hat to my already bulging wardrobe of hats: cook, cleaner, mediator, taxi driver, healer, counsellor, partner, mother, artist, etc etc etc. This one has employee on it. I very luckily landed a permanent part time position, and started in February.  (Which is why its been rather quiet in here of late.)

To say the least, it has been very interesting times in my house, as we all adjust to this new regime. I guess the saying is true. The only thing that is constant, is change.


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